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Hazaras have long been persecuted in Afghanistan, but those returned from countries like Australia are in particular danger of being tortured and murdered. Hazaras have long been persecuted in Afghanistan, but those returned from countries like Australia are in particular danger of being tortured and murdered. Wikimedia Commons/ISAF Public Affairs Office

Australia’s folly returns Afghan Hazaras to torture and death

It has been a bad time lately for Afghan Hazaras with Australian connections. In late September, the shocking news came through that the Taliban had tortured and murdered an Australian of Afghan background…
Concerns about security of US-trained Afghan military. Concerns about security of US-trained Afghan military. EPA/Jalil Rezayee

Killing of US general in Kabul raises fears of Taliban resurgence

The US major-general killed in an insider attack at a military academy near Kabul is the highest-ranked US casualty since 9/11 and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Another 15 officers were wounded, including…
Cry, the beloved country. Pakistan mourns the victims of Karachi airport attacks. Cry, the beloved country. Pakistan mourns the victims of Karachi airport attacks. EPA/Shahzaib Akber

Pakistan’s failing state is too weak to tackle the Taliban

Reports that Pakistan has launched an offensive against militants in North Waziristan come after years of pressure from the West for Islamabad to deal with the wild border region which has for many years…
Bowe Bergdahl was released in a prisoner exchange on 31 May. Bowe Bergdahl was released in a prisoner exchange on 31 May. Intelcenter Handout/EPA

Can Bowe Bergdahl really have forgotten how to speak English?

When US soldier Bowe Bergdahl was released after being held captive by the Afghan Taliban for five years, his father said his son was “having trouble speaking English”. Many will find this statement incredible…
Afghanistan’s Hazara minority has a huge stake in the future of democracy. Afghanistan’s Hazara minority has a huge stake in the future of democracy. EPA/Jawad Jalali

Afghanistan’s Hazara minority flexes its political muscles

Given that no census has been conducted in Afghanistan since 1979, it’s unclear whether the Hazara ethnic minority constitute 9% or near 20% of the country’s population. What is clear, however, is that…
Can the smiles last? Irfan Siddiqui, special assistant to Pakistan’s prime minister, and Taliban representative Maulana Sami-ul-Haq chat after their meeting. Can the smiles last? Irfan Siddiqui, special assistant to Pakistan’s prime minister, and Taliban representative Maulana Sami-ul-Haq chat after their meeting. EPA/T. Mughal

Talking with Taliban won’t end Pakistan’s ‘existential threat’

Talks between the government of Pakistan and the Pakistani Taliban, known as the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), were initiated last week in a secret location in the country’s north-west. These talks…
The gains made over the past 13 years may be squandered if the troop withdrawal also marks an end to any serious engagement with the country. The gains made over the past 13 years may be squandered if the troop withdrawal also marks an end to any serious engagement with the country. United Nations Photo

With troops set to withdraw, what’s in store for Afghanistan?

Afghanistan has a special place in the history of international relations, having tested and endorsed many international power equations over the years. But given the imminent troop withdrawal, serious…
‘One book … can change the world’: Malala Yousafzai. ‘One book … can change the world’: Malala Yousafzai. John Blewitt

Malala: pens and books can defeat terrorism

Malala Yousafzai is no ordinary young woman. She has addressed the United Nations, won international prizes and was subject of a short documentary on her life by the New York Times. This is in addition…
Nawaz Sharif has been elected for his third non-consecutive term as Pakistan’s prime minister. Nawaz Sharif has been elected for his third non-consecutive term as Pakistan’s prime minister. EPA/T. Mughal

Talking to the Taliban: Pakistan’s historic election promises fundamental change

The newly-elected Pakistani government of Nawaz Sharif is set to enact policies – most notably negotiating with the Pakistani wing of the Taliban – that will forever alter the dynamics of this strategically…
An Afghan health worker gives polio vaccine drops to a child in Nangarhar, Afghanistan, 19 November 2012. An Afghan health worker gives polio vaccine drops to a child in Nangarhar, Afghanistan, 19 November 2012. EPA/Abdul Mueed

Violence against health workers damages public health efforts

The Guardian recently reported the death of a female volunteer in a polio vaccination program in Kapisa province, Afghanistan, who was shot six times and later died in hospital. The shooting has rightly…
An article in the New Statesman reports that Taliban have signalled their willingness to negotiate an end to the conflict in Afghanistan. An article in the New Statesman reports that Taliban have signalled their willingness to negotiate an end to the conflict in Afghanistan.

Is Afghanistan the unwinnable war? The Taliban seems to think so

The current situation in Afghanistan is a dramatic example of the old adage that all foreign policy is merely an extension of domestic politics. Last week, the British weekly, New Statesman, reported an…
Tracer fire lights up the sky during the attack on Kabul’s Intercontinental Hotel. Tracer fire lights up the sky during the attack on Kabul’s Intercontinental Hotel. AAP

Afghanistan: what the Hotel Intercontinental attack means

The overnight attack by Taliban forces on Kabul’s Intercontinental Hotel demonstrates the ability of the Islamist group to attack Afghan and Western targets in all areas of the country. At least six Taliban…
The funeral of Australian soldier Marcus Case, killed in Afghanistan in June. The funeral of Australian soldier Marcus Case, killed in Afghanistan in June. AAP

The unwinnable war in Afghanistan

In an interview conducted in Kabul on Monday June 6, perhaps not coincidentally the 67th anniversary of the Normandy D-Day landings, the top US military commander in Afghanistan, General David Petraeus…